Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2018 – Playing With Plays

Name: Melanie Haber
From: Madison, NJ
Grade: College Freshman
School: Drew University
Votes: 19

DMV Essay

            I believe that my self-founded charity, Play With Plays, has the most
meaningful impact to me of all of the charitable endeavors I have
accomplished. My charity theatre group teaches theatre classes at
local homeless shelters, such as the Lotus House, as a means of
entertainment for younger children with the hopes that it can also
spark an interest or appreciation of the arts. As many children today
are not as exposed to performing arts on a regular basis, I felt that
it could be extremely beneficial to not only educate these children
but also, provide a time of peace for the hard-working parents of
these children that are often unable to have time to do much of the
work that is needed for them. I dedicated myself to this program
completely, working tirelessly creating the lesson plans, organizing
class times, and teaching the class itself. If I had to approximate,
I worked at minimum 5-6 hours a week on tasks related to this

I found that my largest challenge in leading the theatre classes at the
Lotus House was trying to keep the focus of the children on the
lesson at hand. I recall specifically one class where I was unable to
find a friend who was free to serve as an assistant for the class, as
I usually do. I believed, wrongly, that I would be able to handle the
children all on my own. However, the children were extremely
unresponsive and were too busy in-fighting amongst themselves to even
listen to the lesson I was giving. With all the fighting,
chair-throwing, and crying, I was unable to get anything done that
day. I learned that often when working with children it is necessary
to create interesting techniques to get the children to pay
attention. Specifically, I created a small chant, saying, “Who
is the director?” to which they responded “you.” After
I say, “So who do you listen to?” which was followed by a
large chant of “you” by the children. By using techniques
like this I learned a lot about working with children.

As a student planning to study human rights in college, working with
homeless children was extremely personally significant to me. Often,
homeless children are not able to participate in after school
activities because their parents cannot afford to send them. By
creating this free class, I was able to expose children to the arts,
something I am very passionate about, while also contributing to my
community. Since my thespian troupe has agreed to take over my
program, I would really hope that my project will continue to inspire
children to participate in the arts.

Join our Facebook group "Volunteers for a Better World".